07 December 2006

We are not alone

In the course of my daily working life I get to meet a lot of business owners from virtually every industry imaginable. These people are from big corporations and small, one person businesses alike. What constantly amazes me is the feeling of isolation that many of these business owners can feel. They often beat themselves up over perceived weaknesses in their businesses simply because they have no way to gauge how their business is going when compared to other businesses.

We often get caught up in our own little world. We develop a perception that every other business is perfect and ours is the only one that is not. Well I am here to tell you that there is not a business on the planet that hasn’t got the odd rough edge or internal problem and ironically, most businesses have similar, if not the same problems.

So my first piece of advice is that if you beat yourself up over your business you are wasting time and a lot of energy. If you have had trouble paying bills, perhaps been a little late paying tax, had the odd upset customer or a conflict of some sort with a customer, member of staff or supplier, don’t crucify yourself. The most important thing is that you are doing something about it. Having a positive plan of attack to prevent the problem from happening again is far more important than punishing yourself or feeling like a failure every minute of every day.

My second piece of advice is to find yourself some good friends who are also in business for themselves. People who you can be 100% honest with and that you trust. Talk to them about your own business challenges and let them air their own problems. It is very therapeutic to get them off your chest and you will be amazed that their problems are very similar to your own. Don’t feel embarrassed or concerned that people will think less of you. Sit around, have a good old moan and talk about ways to prevent the problem from occurring again.

My third piece of advice is to remember every day, that all small businesses are in the same boat. We all face the same challenges on a daily basis. It is demanding, sometimes difficult and often less financially rewarding than working for someone else but at the end of the day you are in control of your future. If you are brave enough to be in your own business you deserve a pat on the back and most importantly of all, there are many other ways to measure success other than a bank account balance. If you make a good product, offer a good service, have lots of people who your business has helped or just a sense of pride in what you do, you are already a success story.

So in conclusion, don’t be too hard on yourself. Talk to other like-minded people, share your good stories and your frustrations and every once in a while stop and give yourself a pat on the back.

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Andrew Griffiths is Australia's #1 small business author with 12 best selling books now sold in over 60 countries. He's a writing and publishing expert, an international speaker and leading business advisor with over 20 years' experience. Andrew presents around the world and is considered an expert in entrepreneurship and an authority on building a profile. He is a thought leader through writing, publishing and speaking and is featured regularly in mainstream global media.

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